by Jonathan van Bilsen
By now, you have probably heard we, the people of Scugog, and a large part of Durham Region, are heading into another election. The official date, as announced by Stephanie Perrault (the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada), will be on Monday, March 4th. This bi-election is to fill the seat vacated by the Honourable Erin O’Toole, upon his retirement from politics.
Five people have stepped up to the plate, each representing one of the five major parties which make up our federal political system. They are, and in no particular order: Kevin McKenzie, a current elected school board Trustee, will represent the Green Party; Jamil Jivani, a lawyer and commentator, will be seeking the Conservative seat; Chris Borgia, the president of the Durham Region Labour council, is once again representing the NDP entity; Robert Rock, a councillor for Scugog’s Ward 3, is the Liberal candidate and Patricia Conlin, an author, international speaker and small business owner, will be representing the People’s Party, a spot she pursued in the last federal election.
The election process for a vacant seat is very strict and adhered to by the government. The Speaker of the House, officially declared the seat for Durham to be vacant, as of August 3rd. The date of the election must be announced between August 14th and January 30th. The election has to be held on a Monday, at least 36 days, but not more than 50 days, after the announcement. The Prime Minister’s office is involved in the timing decision, attempting to pick a date beneficial to them.
This election is also historic, as new measures, installed recently to protect elections from any potential foreign interference, will be applied.
In 2019, the SITE (Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections) task force was established, as part of the government's plan to protect our democracy. The group is composed of CSIS, the Communications Security Establishment, Global Affairs Canada and the RCMP. Obviously, they are taking this seriously.
Whatever your views, whatever your opinions, whatever your beliefs, the best way to keep our country a nation where free speech, choice of worship and a diverse democracy will continue to exist, is to get out and vote. Your voice matters.
Below are websites, where you can find out more information about the candidates:
Jamil Jivani: durham.conservativeeda.ca
Chris Borgia: https://www.ndp.ca/durham
Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube.